Organic farmers are interested in soil conservation by reduced tillage, techniques well known in conventional agriculture to protect soil quality and limit labor time and energy costs. However, organic farming and reduced tillage can modify weeds, soil structure, and thus soil nitrogen (N) mineralization which strongly influences wheat yield and quality. The main objectives of this study were to analyze how reduced tillage applied to organic wheat influenced (1) grain yield, protein concentration, and weed infestation; (2) deoxynivalenol (DON) contamination on grain; (3) technological quality parameters such as dry gluten, zeleny index, falling number, and gluten index; (4) protein composition (F1, F2, F3, F4, and F5 fractions, and UPP, gliadin/glutenin ratio); and (5) baking test. For this purpose, we analyzed five site-years of data from winter wheat crops where mouldboard ploughing and reduced tillage were compared in three experimental trials (two in France and one in Switzerland). Main results concern wheat yields: the effect of reduced tillage on wheat yield was influenced by several factors such as weed competition. No significant increase in mycotoxin content (DON) due to reduced tillage was detected. Contamination with DON was always below the European threshold for human consumption. The technological quality parameters were less affected by the tillage treatments than grain yield: protein content, gluten index, zeleny index, and falling number showed on average no significant difference between treatments although the protein composition was slightly different. The main results of this study are that the effect of reduced tillage on grain yield depends very much on soil type, weather conditions, and time after conversion, whereas there is only minor impact on wheat quality. This is in contrast to the hypothesis that reduced tillage under organic farming will cause problems in baking quality.
This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Subscribe to journal
Immediate online access to all issues from 2019. Subscription will auto renew annually.
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Annett LE, Spaner D, Wismer WV (2007) Sensory profiles of bread made from paired samples of organic and conventionally grown wheat grain. J Food Sci 72:254–260. doi:10.1111/j.1750-3841.2007.00331.x
Bar-L'Helgouac'h C, Giraud M, Cosson C (2004) La chromatographie: un outil pour comprendre la qualité des varieties. Perspectives Agricoles 303:20–24
Berner A, Hildermann I, Fließbach A, Pfiffner L, Niggli U, Mäder P (2008) Crop yield and soil fertility response to reduced tillage under organic management. Soil Till Res 101:89–96
Beyer M, Klix MB, Klink H, Verreet JA (2006) Quantifying the effects of previous crop, tillage, cultivar and triazole fungicides on thedeoxynivalenol content of wheat grain – a review. J Plant Dis 113:241–246
Carr PM, Mäder P, Creamer NG, Beeby JS (2012) Overview and comparison tillage practices and organic farming in Europe and North America (Review). Renew Agr Food Syst 27:2–6
Carcea M, Salvatorelli S, Turfani V, Mellara F (2006) Influence of growing conditions on the technological performance of bread wheat (Triticum aestivum L.). Int J Food Sci Tech 41:102–107
Carson GR, Edwards NM (2009) Criteria of Wheat and Flour Quality. In: Khan, K, Shewry PR (eds) Wheat: Chemistry and Technology, 4th edition, pp 97–118.
Champeil A, Fourbet JF, Doré T, Rossignol L (2004) Influence of cropping system on Fusarium head blight and mycotoxin levels in winter wheat. Crop Prot 23:531–537
Commission Regulation (EC) (2006). Setting maximum levels for certain contaminants in foodstuffs. No 1881/2006 of 19 December 2006. Official Journal of the European Union, 20 December 2006.
Dachkevitch T, Autran JC (1989) Prediction of baking quality of bread wheats in breeding programs by size-exclusion high-performance liquid chromatography. Cereal Chem 66:448–456
David C, Viaux P, Meynard JM (2004) Les enjeux de la production de blé biologique en France. Le Courrier de l'Environnement de l'INRA 51:43–53
Foulkes MJ, Hawkesford MJ, Barraclough PB, Holdsworth MJ, Kerr S, Kightley S, Shewry PR (2009) Identifying traits to improve the nitrogen economy of wheat: Recent advances and future prospects. Field Crop Res 114:329–342
Fowler DB, Kovacs MIP (2004) Influence of protein concentration on farinograph absorption, mixing requirements and mixing tolerance. Can J Plant Sci 84:765–772
Gadermaier F, Berner A, Fließbach A, Friedel JK, Mäder P (2012) Impact of reduced tillage on soil organic carbon and nutrient budgets under organic farming. Renew Agr Food Syst 27:68–80
Godfrey D, Hawkesford MJ, Powers SJ, Millar S, Shewry PR (2010) Effects of crop nutrition on wheat grain composition and end use quality. J Agr Food Chem 58:3012–3021
Hamza MA, Anderson WK (2005) Soil compaction in cropping systems A review of the nature, causes and possible solutions. Soil Till Res 82:121–145
Hildermann I, Thommen A, Dubois D, Boller T, Wiemken A, Mäder P (2009) Yield and baking quality of winter wheat cultivars in different farming systems of the DOK long-term trial. J Sci Food Agr 89:2477–2491
Hildermann, I (2010) Performance of winter wheat cultivars in organic and conventional farming systems. PhD Thesis, University of Basel
Holland JM (2004) The environmental consequences of adopting conservation tillage in Europe: reviewing the evidence. Agr Ecosyst Environ 103:1–25
ICC (2003) Standard Methods of the International Association of Cereal Science and Technology. The Association, Vienna Austria
Langenkämper G, Zörb C, Seifert M, Mäder P, Fretzdorff B, Betsche T (2006) Nutritional quality of organic and conventional wheat. J Appl Bot Food Qual 80:150–154
Mäder P, Hahn D, Dubois D, Gunst L, Alföldi T, Bergmann H, Oehme M, Amadò R, Schneider H, Graf U, Velimirov A, Fließbach A, Niggli U (2007) Wheat quality in organic and conventional farming: results of a 21 year field experiment. J Sci Food Agric 87:1826–1835. doi:10.1002/jsfa.2866
Mäder P, Berner A (2012) Development of reduced tillage systems in organic farming in Europe. Renew Agr Food Syst 27:7–11. doi:10.1017/S1742170511000470
Morel MH, Dehlon P, Autran JC, Leygue JP, Bar-L'Helgouac'h C (2000) Effects of temperature, sonication time, and power settings on size distribution and extractability of total wheat flour proteins as determined by size-exclusion high-performance liquid chromatography. Cereal Chem 77:685–691
Osman A, Struik PC, Lammerts van Bueren ET (2012) Perspectives to breed for improved baking quality wheat varieties adapted to organic growing conditions. J Sci Food Agr 92:207–215
Peigné J, Ball B, Roger-Estrade J, David C (2007) Is conservation tillage suitable for organic farming? A review. Soil Use Manag 23:129–144
Peigné J, Cannavaciuolo M, Gautronneau Y, Aveline A, Giteau JL, Cluzeau D (2009) Earthworm populations under different tillage systems in organic farming. Soil Till Res 104:207–214
Pestka JJ (2010) Toxicological mechanisms and potential health effects of deoxynivalenol and nivalenol. World Myco J 3:323–347
Peigné J, Vian JF, Cannavaciuolo M, Lefevre V, Gautronneau Y, Boizard H (2013) Assessment of soil structure in the transition layer between topsoil and subsoil using the profil cultural method. Soil Till Res 127:13–25
Sabo M, Jug D, Ugarcic-Hardi Z (2006) Effect of reduced tillage on wheat quality traits. Acta Aliment Hung 35:269–279
Samson MF, Morel MH (1995) Heat denaturation of durum wheat semolina beta-amylase effects of chemical factors and pasta processing conditions. J Food Sci 60:1313–1320
Sans FX, Berner A, Armengot L, Mäder P (2011) Tillage effects on weed communities in an organic winter wheat-sunflower-spelt cropping sequence. Weed Res 51:413–421
Thomsen IK, Samson MF, Carcea M, Narducci V (2011) The influence of long-term inputs of catch crops and cereal straw on yield, protein composition and technological quality of a spring and a winter wheat. Int J Food Sci Tech 46:216–220
Torbica A, Antov M, Mastilovic J, Knezˇevic D (2007) The influence of changes in gluten complex structure on technological quality of wheat (Triticum aestivum L.). Food Res Int 40:1038–1045
Vakali C, Zaller JG, Köpke U (2011) Reduced tillage effects on soil properties and growth of cereals and associated weeds under organic farming. Soil Till Res 111:133–141
Wieser H, Manderscheid R, Erbs M, Weigel HJ (2008) Effects of elevated atmospheric CP2 concentrations on the quantitative protein composition of wheat grain. J Agr Food Chem 56:6531–6535
Wilkes MA, Seung D, Levavasseur G, Trehowan RM, Copeland L (2010) Effects of soil type and tillage on protein and starch quality in three related wheat genotypes. Cereal Chem 87:95–99
The authors gratefully acknowledge funding from the CORE-Organic ERA-Net project and the French agency of energy control and environmental protection (ADEME). In addition, the Swiss field study was funded by the Swiss Federal Office for Agriculture, the Coop Sustainability Fund, and various foundations: Dutch BD-Vereniging (NL), Stiftung zur Pflege von Mensch, Mitwelt und Erde (CH), Sampo Verein (CH), Software AG Stiftung (DE), and Evidenzgesellschaft (CH).
About this article
Cite this article
Peigné, J., Messmer, M., Aveline, A. et al. Wheat yield and quality as influenced by reduced tillage in organic farming. Org. Agr. 4, 1–13 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s13165-013-0055-x
- Organic farming
- Protein composition
- Technological quality